Callander public access beach safe for now, but could face sale

·3 min read

A popular Callander beach access is being eyed by a developer and so Council must make a decision what the future of the property will be.

In May a report was submitted to Callander’s council regarding the Alexandra Court lake access—a .8 acre spot of lakeshore land that allows Alexandra Court residents access to the water. The report outlined that the Municipality “recently received an offer to purchase” that property from the “original developer” of the subdivision.

Ashley Bilodeau, Callander’s senior municipal director, explained that currently, the property has not been declared surplus, and as such, there are no plans to sell the land at this time. However, that could change as once “the purpose of the lake access has been established,” Callander council members will consider their options, which “could include selling the land back to the developers, or tendering the lot for sale, or requesting that staff provide cost estimates for enhancing the property as a passive park space.”

Bilodeau mentioned the town received many e-mails from residents who wanted to ensure the property remained municipally owned, to be used as lake access as always, and those messages have been heard loud and clear.

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In the wake of the report, council is revisiting the entire issue of lake access property— “are they protected lands, or are they lands up for grabs?”—asked councillor Jordy Carr during the May 24th council meeting. “And if they are protected lands, we need to designate them as protected lands.”

“And designate them what they are for,” she said. The staff report emphasized this as well, noting the importance of “establishing a purpose for Alexandra Court Lake Access.” Is it solely for lake access? And if so, does this access have to be .8 of an acre, or could a fifteen foot strip be left and the rest sold off? Is this access for pedestrians and vehicles? Should there be parking in the area? Should the town invest some money and convert the property into a park?

These questions remain unanswered and have been floating around since 2018. At that time, council requested that staff draw up a report to answer those questions, but the project must have been placed on the back burner by former staff, because it never materialized at council. Now, Bilodeau is working on the project, putting together a report for council’s consideration outlining all possible purposes for that land.

“We need to decide what they are for,” Carr reiterated, speaking of lake access properties, “and how we are going to use them.”

Councillor Daryl Vaillancourt wanted to clarify “that any land within the community can be re-zoned at any time,” and if a decision is made regarding that land by this council, a future council could reverse that decision. However, at this time, “nothing will happen on that particular parcel that we’ve been hearing about—Alexandra Court.”

He mentioned the many messages council received and reassured residents that for now, council is maintaining the status quo, “nothing will happen” to the property “until we get this report,” which is expected to arrive by late summer.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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